Last month, I signed off from my Project of the Day [in which I stamped a design onto some tea towels] with a little note about the allure of stamping on to fabric. I warned you that:
“[a] it is addictive. You may well may catch the 'Oooh look!! A blank canvas. I could Banana Frog that!' bug ...and
[b] it probably won't be a good idea for you spend a lot of time with people who wear plain T-Shirts too often ...the temptation may get too much for you!”
It was all true ... and here’s some photographic evidence to prove I wasn’t exaggerating:
This bespoke item -from the fashion house of Banana Frog - began life as an innocent, plain white T:But I found the temptation of all that blank, potential-stamping-space too much to bear and set about customising it with my stamps!
If you’d like to know how to approach the tricky task of hand-decorating an item of clothing that a fully-grown man is happy to wear in public, then quieten down at the back there while I adopt my best teacher’s voice to share with you ...
...my first project for ‘Stamping School'.
Step 1: Choose an appropriately masculine stamp set.
I used the ‘Backgrounds’ and 'Sewing Kit' sets throughout and focussed mainly on the woodgrain effect stamp. Not only is it one of my all time favourites, but I knew that he could appreciate it too [and it's not all about how much fun only I can have with stamps ... not all of the time!].
Think non-shiny, non-lacy and non-pink and you can’t go too far wrong. I found this fine, grainy white cotton tape [it’s the type of thing you might find as a drawstring on pyjama bottoms!] for 15p per metre in a local haberdashers. You could also try a grosgrain ribbon or even some bias-binding, which often comes in a nice man-friendly matte-finish!
Step 3: Stamp onto your fabric.
I stamped on to my tapes using Versacraft fabric inks in black and grey and ironed them to heat-set the ink [I’ll wash the T-shirt at a lower temperature just to be sure of a lasting result].
Step 4: Embellish - with hardware, not sequins.
I looked through my boxes of embellishments and avoided the cute buttons and beads which I'd happily add to a T-shirt that I was going to wear, instead selecting several simple brushed-metal items. I set a few metal snaps [above & below] with my eyelet setter then added an old Basic Grey zip-pull and a simple metal jewellery-finding hoop [see final photo].
Step 5: Attach the decorated tapes to the T-shirt.
If you're not confident on the sewing machine you can always use an iron-on bonding tape to fix your tapes. However, as I was going for a relaxed, even slightly shabby look, I wasn't too careful while running mine through the machine. I alternated between running stitch and zig-zag through the centre of the strips leaving the edges to curl and crease to give a 'worn' effect.
Step 6: Consider how to adapt the basic idea.
Do you have any Banana Frog alphabet stamps? If you do then experiment using them to stamp a phrase, slogan, name or even just some random numbers and letters [such as a military style ID / serial code which seem to be all over men's T-shirts in the shops.]. Font sets such as ‘FT Rosecube’, ‘Teen – lower case’ and 'Steelfish Outline' would work well on T-shirts and any other stamped projects for men and boys.
Step 7: Begin planning how you can adapt these techniques to create something in your own size … or in a size to fit your children, your mother, your friends, your dog … your postman.
In short, what I'm trying to say is, have a go. Be on the look out for cheap T-shirts, vests, bags etc and keep a few handy in your stash to alter and personalise and give as gifts. Once you realise how quick and easy it is to create unique, interesting items of clothing using only your stamps and the contents of your many craft boxes [I know you have them ... you might as well make use of it all!] then you really will want to transform everyone around you into your models!!
Step 8: Don't forget to leave a comment or let me know if you do give any of these ideas a try.
You know how I like to hear from you and you know where to find me.